Landscape Gardener faces homelessness

Thank you for reading “Groundsman in Crisis” today I want to introduce you to Sam who we met earlier this year.

Sam is a well-respected landscape gardener whose work has featured in the trade press so some details have been changed to protect his identity but, as always, the case is sadly true.

Sam was contracted to design and build a high profile, public, wonderfully ornate garden and was thrilled at the opportunity and the outcome. He was awaiting payment for the project when he learnt that the client had gone into liquidation, he was to receive nothing for his efforts.

Unable to pay his suppliers he fell into serious debt and after 25 years in business he was forced to fold. The stress and anxiety that Sam experienced, sadly, has resulted in him beginning unable to return to any form of work since.

Sam was told about Perennial by another agency who thought we might be able to provide a grant to repair his bathroom. We visited Sam and talked to him about his finances and he told us about his personal debts, it quickly became clear that urgent action was required as he had been selling all his possessions to pay his creditors and now had nothing left to offer them, he was at serious risk of losing his home.

Our Debt Advice Manager was contacted and she immediately began work, knowing only too well that the charging orders that had been applied to his property and the intention of one creditor to enforce bankruptcy meant that one missed payment would result in homelessness.

The creditors were all immediately contacted and negotiations began to reduce the monthly payments. Understandings were reached that, with a respected debt adviser working alongside him, no further action would be taken against Sam as long as negotiated payments are maintained.

The complexities of this case and the delicate mental health of the client are such that it is being managed by two senior staff, our Casework Manager and our Debt Advice Manager, who, alternately visit Sam monthly, working together with him to maximise his income, reduce his expenditure, assist with budgeting and deal swiftly with any problems as they arise. Working to an agreed plan, we believe Sam has a real chance of retaining his property and returning to work as a landscape gardener within the next 12 months.

We meet people like Sam every day, we know that there are many more that struggle on because they are ashamed of their situation. There is no need to be alone in this, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Our debt team do not judge and I promise you will feel better just for talking to them.

If you would like help or further information about our totally free and confidential debt advice service please do not hesitate to contact me.  

lchurchill@perennial.org.uk

01275 817924 / 07813 148810

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Comments

  • PRO

    This story is one of the reasons why I am pleased to support Perennial.

    Sadly our industry has created a perception that we live in a show garden environment where most landscapers/designers are celebrities jetting around the world.

    The reality is much more sober and I think Sam's case is a tip of the iceberg.

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Open forum activity

John F replied to Charlie Manton's discussion Solo gardener - to work or not to work? (Covid-19)
"I wouldn't say its a massive overreaction Will . 
Mortuaries in Italy struggling to cope ?
I would say its a desperate attempt to stem a chain reaction to stop the virus getting a hold and get the genie back in the bottle .
 
 "
6 hours ago
John F replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"I think its so the business can maintain its customer base , contacts and momentum so we can return to some normality once this is over without the need to rebuild our business from scratch ."
6 hours ago
Billybop replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"yes it's good that we can claim our ''Giro'' and still try to earn a bit. But am not counting my chickens until that free money is in the bank."
7 hours ago
John F replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"If i heard correctly chancellor implied self employed can continue to work and still be eligble for this financial support ."
7 hours ago
John F replied to Charlie Manton's discussion Solo gardener - to work or not to work? (Covid-19)
"Paying for regular maintenance is an investment . The sadness is seeing all this investment get wiped out if the garden gets out of control . 
I have suggested this might benefit the planet a bit of wilding , respite from regular maintenance has to…"
7 hours ago
Chris & Heather McAlpine replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"Given all the complexities involved it does seem to cover most people and, as others have said, will penalise those who have underdeclared which is great. 
We do qualify as we're a partnership but have only submitted 2 tax returns, the first of whic…"
8 hours ago
Andrew Watts replied to Charlie Manton's discussion Solo gardener - to work or not to work? (Covid-19)
"forgot to say, my reasons to carry on mowing would include the service you're providing. People who are cooped up will be relying on using the garden more over the next 3 months, especially the older and at risk. So anything giving them a nicer envi…"
8 hours ago
Will replied to Charlie Manton's discussion Solo gardener - to work or not to work? (Covid-19)
"Same as you Charlie, Carrying on working.
Just sending an email to all customers a couple of days beforehand to check they're happy with it.
All customers have confirmed it's okay.
lots of new work from neighbours who are now at home.
everyone now s…"
8 hours ago
Andrew Watts replied to Charlie Manton's discussion Solo gardener - to work or not to work? (Covid-19)
"Charlie, there are 3 camps on here. Those that will carry on working as per their (correct IMO) intereptation of the government guidlines. Those who think it's wrong to work, morally or risk etc and interpret the guidline to show that; and finally t…"
8 hours ago
John F replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"HMRC will contact those eligble which is a blessing ."
8 hours ago
Billybop replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"those who put in a fiddled tax return of a profit just below income tax thresh hold will still get a couple of grand for free so will be unlikely to complain. as they might have been in receipt of working/ child tax credits also, which are still a t…"
8 hours ago
Andrew Watts replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"OK thanks, that makes sense. 3% increase seems fine with me for parity. Most self employed people have other benefits like ofseting some household costs eg their home office proportion of bills, mortgage interest etc. Not much and it has a limit. Ot…"
8 hours ago
Richard Gadsby replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"As for the NIC it was always my understanding we paid a bit less because we don't get sick pay and holidays etc?"
8 hours ago
GaryRK replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"This was what I was referring to - if I've understood correctly 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tax/news/chancellor-sunak-eyes-national..."
9 hours ago
Andrew Watts replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"When the chancellor announced the scheme and set the limit to those earning less than £50k, he stated that the average income of all those above £50k was £200k. Guess that's skewed by all the footballers and celebs being "self employed"."
9 hours ago
GaryRK replied to GaryRK's discussion Sting in the tail - self employment income scheme (Covid-19)
"Yes, it's effectively the form you fill in.
Exactly 🙂"
9 hours ago
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